By Naeem ul Haque
NEVER in the history of this country has there been a period of such unabashed and shameful political narcissism.
Ours has become a government “of one man, by one man and for one man”, to distort a quote of Abraham Lincoln. Today, the nation stands bewildered at the attempts of an unpopular government to give itself a Caesarean rebirth.
An air of pervasive myopia has engulfed the entire government approach to issues during the last eight years. A critical look at Musharraf’s years in power unfolds a history of monumental failures in the spheres of foreign affairs, economic policy and political development.
Ad hocism and short-term solutions have exacerbated the overall situation to an alarming degree, and major issues confronting the nation remain unresolved. It is in the field of foreign policy where Musharraf’s myopic stance stands most exposed.We must start from the Kargil misadventure planned by Musharraf when he was army chief but not yet the president.
This event led to the death of at least 600 Pakistani soldiers and international embarrassment and humiliation for Pakistan. This ill-planned and ill-timed adventure was totally against the foreign policy objectives of the then government of Nawaz Sharif and ended in a complete fiasco.
Later, as “chief executive” of the country, Musharraf made a mess of the tremendous goodwill available to him at Agra when his euphoric bravado during a “live” breakfast meeting with Indian editors resulted in the collapse of the summit. Years later, we are still struggling to find common ground with India in the midst of lacklustre initiatives.
The repercussions of Musharraf’s post 9/11 acquiescence in American demands, without any national debate, have now become obvious. Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers have been killed and continue to be killed by fellow Pakistanis in Waziristan. They have even laid down arms and deserted the army to avoid confrontation with fellow citizens. As a virtual civil war rages in Waziristan and Pakistanis continue to die, America and the Americans feel safe thousands of miles away from this boiling cauldron.
The Israeli initiative taken by Musharraf also turned out to be a big flop. It seems that Musharraf’s main idea was to cultivate the Jewish lobby in America for building support for his regime. The plight of the Palestinians was hardly on his agenda. Throughout his eight years of rule, Musharraf has never once directly condemned Israel for its atrocities in Palestine.
As a result of this initiative, Musharraf has not only lost face with the Palestinians but also with the Israelis as their hopes for promised recognition failed to materialise. (continued)